Work of electrical and computer engineering professor and students recognized at international conference

Michael Rice, a BYU electrical and computer engineering professor, won the Best Paper Award at the International Telemetering Conference (ITC/YSA) in Las Vegas for a paper he co-authored with Erik Perrins, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at University of Kansas. Rice also mentored BYU electrical engineering graduate students, Chris Hogstrom and Chris Nash, who won the student category for Best Paper at the conference.

Rice and Perrins won the Best Paper Award for their work on how to combine redundant information airplanes receive from multiple stations as they are test flying, titled “Maximum Likelihood Detection From Multiple Bit Sources.” This technology will help recreate the original bit information—essentially what happened in the air during the test flight—which tells people on the ground if the plane has met the safety requirements.

“We came up with the idea [when] two of the companies that exhibit at ITC sent me and the co-author an email describing a new product they had in the works,” Rice said. “The designers wanted to know what the theoretically optimum approach to bit combining is.”

Rice and Perrins’ work is already being used in products being sold to test ranges.

“It sometimes takes several years for theoretical work to find its way into products, but this case is an exception,” Rice said. “This speaks to both the relevance of the work and the potential the work has to improve how data is collected.”

Hogstrom and Nash’s paper, “SOQPSK Software Defined Radio,” explored the creation of a software defined radio for use in aeronautical telemetry using commercial off the shelter products. They found a way to make receivers only cost $6,000 instead of $40,000, creating cheaper alternatives for testing.

“As a student, this award shows that the things we learn in class have a direct application to the real world. It helps us stay excited about the things we are learning,” Hogstrom said. “The biggest impact it will have will be on our resume. This award helps set us apart from all of the other well qualified engineers and shows that we can get things done.”

Rice has a long history with the ITC. He’s served in numerous leadership positions and will be ITC General Chair in 2016. He has taken BYU undergraduate and graduate students to the conference since 1993.

The ITC/USA is the premier annual forum and technical exhibition providing telemetry specific short courses, technical papers from professionals and students and exhibits of the industry's leading companies. ITC/USA is sponsored by the International Foundation for Telemetering (IFT), a non-profit corporation dedicated to serving the technical and professional interests of the telemetering community.

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